March 31, 2015

Food Truck Rally

If I didn't do some interweb stalking the other day, I wouldn't have found myself at the World's Largest Food Truck Festival over the weekend.
located at: Florida State Fairgrounds, Tampa, Florida
My initial stalking was for the Korean taco truck that roams around Tampa Bay but then I found myself reading about this gigantic food truck rally. A whole slew of food trucks in one place on a not-too-hot day (sorry Northerners, I now have to be concerned about it being too hot out down here in Florida), it was almost too good to be true!
75 trucks came from all over Florida, not just Tampa Bay. While the variety wasn't as wide as I had hoped, there were still some trucks that intrigued me. (Side rant: I love when food trucks specialize in something off-the cuff or unique, something beyond burgers and sandwiches---which sadly happened to be a lot of the trucks I saw at the food truck festival). My friend Yuri and I tried to pace ourselves, alternating savory with sweet and snacks over entrees. We could only cover so much and wished we had more buddies with us on our adventure. We ate as much as we could stomach and even wished we could have gone both days of the festival.

Empanadas at Bokados de Mi Tierra:
Some of the best empanadas that I've ever had. Not too fried or greasy, flavorful, pillowy and completely delicious. My mouth is drooling as I reminisce on this experience.

Shrimp & Grits at Crab Daddy's Surf & Turf:
Completely devoid of shrimp (even though we clearly ordered shrimp & grits) but complete with a huge glob of bright orange cheese, which was a bit of a turn off but still, these grits weren't totally unappetizing.

Fried Chicken and Waffle Fries from The Twisted Iron:
These sounded better in theory than in actual execution. They were like nachos but with fries instead of tortilla chips. Or just a plate of loaded fries but somehow, it didn't work---and I love fries. Confused by how it wasn't more tasty and disappointed it took up precious space in my belly when I could have sampled something more exciting.

Large fruity drink from Island Delights:
We ordered a mango-strawberry slushy inside a hollowed out pineapple after seeing heaps of people walking around with them. Refreshing, overly expensive ($12) and a little too heavy to carry around but the pineapple kept the drink well-insulated, making it nice and cool throughout our afternoon. Tasty but your average gimmicky rip-off.

Cupcakes:
I couldn't leave the festival without sampling the two cupcake options. The first truck we stopped at was Mmmm Delicious Cupcakes, which is based out of the nearby city, Tarpon Springs. They offered a large variety of flavors and I settled on an Elvis cupcake: a banana-chocolate cake, peanut butter filling and topped with a chocolate buttercream frosting. Each cupcake was $2.50.
The cupcake was moist and flavorful but the frosting was a tad too sweet and the banana flavor was a little too artificial for me. I wish there was more peanut butter filling because when I had a bite with it, it almost masked the sweetness of the frosting to make a perfect bite.
The other cupcake truck came all the way from Jacksonville. The Pink Cupcake had less flavors available and their cupcakes were 50¢ more than Mmmm Delicious's cupcakes (each cupcake was $3.00). Yuri chose a Key Lime cupcake.
There is no way to soften the blow of how bad this cupcake was; it was dry, crumbly, dense and bland. Its only saving grace was that it wasn't too sweet. Completely inedible after one bite and it was clear that it wasn't worth the extra 50¢.

I'm proud to say that the other diners agreed with me that Mmmm Delicious Cupcakes were tasty; it won the award for Most Unique Food at the festival!

And we ended up not eating at the Mmm Bap Korean Taco Truck as I initially planned. So I see more stalking in the future to hunt down that truck.
















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